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Gender: Female
Hometown: NY
Home country: US
Current location: Florida
Member since: Mon Sep 6, 2004, 09:54 PM
Number of posts: 167,238

Journal Archives

Trump's rule creating a wealth test for immigrants is now in effect

Trump’s rule creating a wealth test for immigrants is now in effect
It’s already had a chilling effect on immigrants dropping out of public benefits programs.
By Nicole Narea@nicolenarea Updated Feb 24, 2020, 3:41pm EST

A rule that creates new barriers to low-income immigrants seeking to enter the US went into effect on Monday, bringing to fruition the kind of vast restrictions on legal immigration that President Donald Trump has long sought.


Trump has justified the rule as a means of ensuring that immigrants are “financially self-sufficient” and has argued it will “protect benefits for American citizens.”

“I am tired of seeing our taxpayer paying for people to come into the country and immediately go onto welfare and various other things,” Trump said when announcing the rule. “So I think we’re doing it right.”

The rule, which has been anticipated for more than a year, has had a chilling effect already: Noncitizens have been needlessly dropping their public benefits out of fear that they will face immigration consequences. It’s difficult to quantify just how many immigrants have unenrolled already, but one survey suggested that about one in seven had done so as of 2018.

Many immigrants aren’t eligible for public benefits unless they have green cards or certain humanitarian protections — and not all public benefits are available to noncitizens. In the majority of cases, the best advice for immigrants is to keep using the programs to which they’re entitled because they won’t be penalized for doing so under the rule, Doug Rand, a former White House official who worked on immigration policy in the Obama administration, said.


Posted by babylonsister | Mon Feb 24, 2020, 10:03 PM (0 replies)

Trump administration cancels $8B health care grant for New York: Cuomo


Trump administration cancels $8B health care grant for New York: Cuomo
Posted: 5:01 PM, Feb 24, 2020
Updated: 7:11 PM, Feb 24, 2020
By: Lauren Cook
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the Trump administration canceled an $8 billion grant that funds Medicaid and other health care initiatives in New York.

NEW YORK — The Trump administration is canceling an $8 billion health care grant for New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday.

The funding was initially granted in 2014, and allowed the state to transition from a hospital-driven system to a more cost-effective, community-based system, according to the governor. The lack of grant money will cost New York $600 million in 2020, Cuomo said, adding that the Medicaid program will be hit hard.

“If there's one area that you'd think should be beyond politics, it's health care,” Cuomo said during a news conference on Monday. “These are needy New Yorkers; they're primarily senior citizens, who are hurt.”

Cuomo denounced the decision as President Donald Trump’s latest attack on New York, pointing out the recent suspension of the state’s participation in the Trusted Traveler Programs and the federal government’s delay in approving congestion pricing in New York City.

“In and of itself, it is very counterproductive and hurtful to this state, but when you view it in the series that are going on, it is even more disturbing,” Cuomo said. “Because this is not just the federal government taking an isolated action that is hurting the state. There is a continued pattern and series of these actions. Connect the dots and you see the line.”

The governor also said his administration plans to work with New York’s representatives in Congress to fight the decision.
Posted by babylonsister | Mon Feb 24, 2020, 09:30 PM (10 replies)

Turning the purpose of White House's national security team on its head

Turning the purpose of White House's national security team on its head
The National Security Council that's supposed to be steering Donald Trump is instead being steered.
Feb. 24, 2020, 11:04 AM EST
By Steve Benen

Last fall, after Donald Trump had gone through three White House national security advisers in 32 months, the president told reporters that a great many people were clamoring for the position.

"It's a great job," the president said. "It's great because it's a lot of fun to work with Donald Trump. And it's very easy, actually, to work with me. You know why it's easy? Because I make all the decisions. They don't have to work."

Even for Trump, it was a deeply strange comment. As we discussed at the time, the national security adviser -- technically, the assistant to the president for national security affairs (APNSA) -- is responsible for coordinating the White House policy process on matters related to national security and international affairs. The person in the job has a considerable reach, involving the White House National Security Council and a variety of departments and agencies across the executive branch. But as far as Trump is concerned, the person can just sit back and do nothing, while the president who doesn't read intelligence briefings and ignores national security experts does the heavy lifting.

The New Yorker's Susan Glasser raised an important point along these lines in September: "[John] Bolton's exit serves as a reminder that the intensive national-security decision-making process of previous presidents, Republican and Democrat alike, has been abandoned by Trump, subverted to the presidential ego, and will not return for the duration of his tenure."

Six months later, the evidence to bolster the point is overwhelming. The New York Times reported over the weekend:

When President Trump's national security adviser, Robert C. O'Brien, convenes meetings with top National Security Council officials at the White House, he sometimes opens by distributing printouts of Mr. Trump's latest tweets on the subject at hand. The gesture amounts to an implicit challenge for those present. Their job is to find ways of justifying, enacting or explaining Mr. Trump's policy, not to advise the president on what it should be.

For the better part of the last century, the White House National Security Council existed to offer presidents advice and information. In the Trump era, the model has been flipped: Robert O'Brien tells NSC members what the president already believes and directs them to offer support for the decisions on which Trump has already settled.

Under any administration, this would be a recipe for disastrous policymaking, but it's worth pausing from time to time to appreciate why this is a uniquely dangerous governing dynamic right now: Donald Trump doesn't know anything about national security policy. We are, after all, talking about the nation's first amateur president, who, in the recent past, was a television personality and notorious conspiracy theorist.


Posted by babylonsister | Mon Feb 24, 2020, 01:23 PM (0 replies)

Trump's helping Moscow muck with our elections fits the strict constitutional definition of treason


Trump's helping Moscow muck with our elections fits the strict constitutional definition of treason
Meteor Blades
Daily Kos Staff
Monday February 24, 2020 · 10:49 AM EST
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Throughout the history of the Republic, traitorous and treasonous have held a broader, more generic meaning for treason than the one found in the U.S. Constitution. The rebellious founders, having themselves been traitors to the British Crown—and being fully familiar with how English treason laws had been extended and abused in what was then the not-very-distant past—the drafters wisely kept to the narrowest of definitions in the first paragraph of Article III, Section 3:

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.


What Trump has done, what he is now doing, meets the strict definition of treason in the Constitution. No doubt the lawyers will tell me I am full of it. That including cyberwarfare as the same as a declared war is bogus, even though we’ve had plenty of wars but none declared since 1942. They’ll also remind me what just happened with the impeachment vote in the Senate.

No way will Trump ever be tried for treason, of course, so why bother to bring it up? Because Trump is a traitor. Because he’s thrown open the door to bad actors, not sneakily the way he has done so many things, but in broad daylight. This isn’t speculation about something that will happen someday down the road. It’s happening right damn now.

Trump knows the Republican He-Did-It-So-What? Caucus will never convict him for treason or anything else. If it got as far as another impeachment, Alan Dershowitz would argue that Trump can order the strafing of an entire U.S. Army division on Fifth Avenue and not be liable for prosecution. The GOP would have no trouble if Trump made a deal for Russia to write software for swing state voting machines and made a fat commission off it.

Trump’s protectors will shield him no matter what and he will do whatever. The word for that in these circumstances isn’t supporters, it’s accomplices. If the constitutional machinery of the Republic is inadequate to oust this traitor, if he can’t be defeated at the polls or won’t leave office if he is defeated, then “street politics” will be all that remains. That’s far from a happy prospect.
Posted by babylonsister | Mon Feb 24, 2020, 01:14 PM (7 replies)

Trump Speaks to Massive Indian Crowd, Mispronounces Almost Everything


Trump Speaks to Massive Indian Crowd, Mispronounces Almost Everything
Updated Feb. 24, 2020 5:51AM ET /
Published Feb. 24, 2020 5:03AM ET

President Donald Trump addressed a massive public rally early Monday in India, where he showered the country and its prime minister with praise—but repeatedly struggled with his pronunciation. The 100,000-seat stadium in the state of Gujarat was reportedly at capacity by the time Trump arrived—he walked to the stage with Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the sound of the Village People song “Macho Man” rang out over loudspeakers. Trump was cheered as he told the crowd that their country “will always hold a very special place in our hearts,” and said of the PM: “Everybody loves him but I will tell you this, he is very tough.” BBC News India kept a running total of the Indian words Trump managed to mispronounce, including Ahmedabad, the city where he was speaking. He reportedly referred to the Indian philosopher Swami Vivekananda as Swami Vivekamanan, and called the Vedas—ancient Hindu religious texts—“Vestas.” He also mangled the names of India’s biggest cricket stars. The BBC reports some in the crowd began leaving midway through Trump’s speech.
Posted by babylonsister | Mon Feb 24, 2020, 10:45 AM (9 replies)

Bernie's path to the presidency


3 hours ago - Politics & Policy
Bernie's path to the presidency
Jim VandeHei

Lots of Democrats are in full panic that Bernie Sanders will win the nomination and get clobbered in the general election — and bring the party down, too. But the evidence, particularly the polling, doesn't back those doomsday warnings.

Why it matters: Virtually every national and swing state poll shows Sanders tied with or beating President Trump. And, unlike every rival, he has a huge base of fervent, unshakable supporters he can only grow.

Just the facts, please: A Quinnipiac Poll last week showed Sanders beating Trump in Michigan and Pennsylvania. A CBS News/YouGov poll showed Sanders beating Trump nationally.

A Texas Lyceum poll shows Sanders doing better against Trump in Texas than any Democrat, losing by just three points.

He’s socially savvier: Sanders has much larger followings on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other platforms than his rivals — and has consistently shown new media sophistication others lack.

Loyalty matters
: The guy’s base writes checks regularly, for years now, making him the best-funded non-billionaire in the Democratic game. His supporters also show up — on social, at rallies, in elections. Ask Trump if this matters.

Socialism hasn’t killed him
: It’s not like Sanders hides his big government socialism — he has screamed it to the nation for a half-decade. Maybe voters don’t care, just like 45% don’t care about Trump’s outlandishness.

Peter Hamby, who works for Snapchat and writes for Vanity Fair, argues "bed-wetting" Democrats might have it all wrong:

"Instead of asking if Sanders is unelectable, ask another question: What if Sanders is actually the MOST electable Democrat? In the age of Trump, hyper-partisanship, institutional distrust, and social media, Sanders could be examined as a candidate almost custom-built to go head-to-head with Trump this year."

He’s a Trump-like celebrity: "Running for president has always been about winning the attention war, and the competition for attention has never been more difficult than it is in 2020,” Hamby writes. Sanders has way more old-school and new-age celebrity than the rest of his rivals combined.

The bottom line: The truth is we are all clueless about what voters want or will accept. That includes everyone on Twitter, inside the Democratic establishment — and me!
Posted by babylonsister | Mon Feb 24, 2020, 09:55 AM (18 replies)



inessential by Brent Simmons

Knock It the Fuck Off

Every day on Twitter I see smart people who I respect dumping on one or another of the Democratic candidates.

Sanders for being cozy with left-wing dictators; Warren for being insufficiently socialist; Klobuchar for having prosecuted drug crimes; Buttigieg for taking money from rich people and for his lecturing; Biden for the stains on his record and for being weird; Steyer for being super-rich; Bloomberg for being even richer and for stop-and-frisk; Yang for… something, probably. (I forget).

I have a favorite, and a second and third choice. And so do you, and ours might not match.

Odds are that your favorite is not going to be the nominee. And that nominee, whoever it is, needs to not have been already labeled a garbage candidate by you and by everyone who’s favorite he or she isn’t.

Here’s the thing: we’re fighting to stop the spread of right-wing extremism. It will get so much worse if we reelect the president. It has to be stopped now. No other issue matters, because nothing else can be done without doing this.

Things I Don’t Care About

I don’t care about Medicare for All or beefing up the ACA. I don’t care about free college. I don‘t care about legalizing marijuana. I don’t care about immigration reform. I don’t care about rolling back the corporate tax cuts.

I don‘t care about any of the wonderful liberal and progressive policies our candidates propose — because they’re not going to get through.

(Well, I do care about them, deeply, but the point stands.)

It’s not that it would take 60 Democratic senators — it would take more like 65 or even more, and that’s not going to happen. We can elect the most wonderful progressive person ever and they’ll just beat their head against the wall.

There’s no magic coming. There’s no amount of will-of-the-people that will move Republican senators. All of the policy we talk about is just fantasy.

I also don’t care where the candidates’ money comes from. In fact, I want it to come from everywhere and I want to see enormous fucking rivers of it — because we’re going to need it to beat that corrupt asshole, our current president.

The Only Thing I Care About

Our job is to stop fascism here in America.

And then we can deal with it in the rest of the world.

I have plenty of doubt about what’s the best way. Will we turn out people who don’t usually vote? Maybe. But, the thing is, those people are people who don’t vote. And there’s no guarantee that, if they did, they’d vote our way.

But maybe there is an untapped well who can be energized and inspired?

Or… instead, will we be able to persuade people in the suburbs who normally vote Republican? In this polarized country, can anyone anywhere be persuaded? I don’t know. But maybe?

If you think you know the answer, I’ll tell you you’re full of shit, because you don’t know and I don’t know.

Here’s what I do know, though: we all need to be prepared for one of these candidates becoming the Democratic nominee, and we need to not have half of us hating that person already.

Because none of them are right-wing extremists. They’re all good people who will do their best to get good things done (and fail, but still).

This is the only thing that matters — they would all, every one of them, turn us away sharply and swiftly from the abyss we’re looking at right now. Even the ones who are not your favorite.

So cut it out.

09 Feb 2020
Posted by babylonsister | Sun Feb 23, 2020, 11:44 PM (2 replies)

Intelligence Community Concerned Official In Charge Of Election Security May Be Ousted Next


2/23/20 7:33am

Intelligence Community Concerned Official In Charge Of Election Security May Be Ousted Next
CNN reports that there are fears in the intelligence community that Shelby Pierson, the person in charge of evaluating intelligence regarding election security with the ODNI, may be the next to be ousted by the Trump administration.
By Heather

The purge of those who are not Trump loyalists in the intelligence community continues. CNN is reporting that there are more departures expected, and that Shelby Pierson, the person in charge of evaluating intelligence regarding election security with the ODNI, may be the next to go now that Trump has his flunky, Richard Grennell as temporary Director of National Intelligence:

Some top intelligence officials are looking to leave following the recent upheaval at the office that oversees the 17 intelligence agencies of the US government, including the controversial appointment of Richard Grenell as the nation's top intelligence official, a US official told CNN.

Grenell has said he is only temporarily filling the position of acting director of American spy agencies, but he is already making his mark. Grenell, a President Donald Trump loyalist, is also still serving as the US ambassador to Germany. After his appointment to the intelligence post this week, officials at the office of the director of national intelligence (ODNI) made calls to US diplomats in Germany inquiring about Grenell's leadership style, two sources familiar with the matter told CNN.

Earlier this week, Grenell quickly forced out the number two intelligence official in the US government, Andrew Hallman, a source with knowledge of the situation confirmed to CNN. Hallman was an intelligence veteran and well respected in the intelligence community.

CNN reported earlier this week that Hallman was leaving. The New York Times first reported Grenell ousted him.

There are fears within the intelligence community that Hallman may not be the only top official forced out. Career intelligence professionals worry that Shelby Pierson, the person in charge of evaluating intelligence regarding election security with the ODNI, will be moved out of her position, according to a former top intelligence official.

Pierson is highly regarded and viewed as not partisan by intelligence community colleagues who know her to be confident and well versed in the work she does. She isn't afraid of making tough calls and fiercely defending her analysis when challenged, colleagues say.

The Chicago Sun-Times' Lynn Sweet discussed the reasons for this latest move with CNN's Victor Blackwell this Sunday:

“It sends the signal once again that President Trump is not a respecter of the United States intelligence services with the bigger issue that a permanent director has not been in that office since last summer when Dan Coates was forced out,” Sweet explained. “This is a key position, subject to Senate confirmation and Trump hasn’t seen fit to have a permanent director for months now.”

“Now, post-impeachment, you also have the issue of whether or not part of his [Richard Grenell’s] role there it is to oversee a purge of people who are not seen as Trump loyalists,” she continued. “All of which goes to the heart of United States intelligence mission which is to get and gather information in a nonpartisan way to brief partisan officials to base their policy decisions on.” [...]

“What we’ve learned from sources is that inside the office of the Director of National Intelligence is she could be next to be pushed out of the office,” he added. “What’s the impact of getting rid of that person as we’re about eight months out from elections?”

“It is two levels of answers here, Victor,” Sweet replied. “One, you’re getting rid of a seasoned professional in what would seem like a retaliatory act for putting forth intelligence you don’t like. Again, it goes to the core of what intelligence is for: just to get unvarnished information. If, indeed, she’s presiding over election security issues, that’s the intelligence community needs to be on top of if she does leave. Will the mission still be carried out when election security is a top priority of the United States?”
Posted by babylonsister | Sun Feb 23, 2020, 12:34 PM (0 replies)

Voters in Kentucky break record for registration ahead of 2020 election

I'm hoping this is a good thing.

Voters in Kentucky break record for registration ahead of 2020 election
By Dan Desai Martin -
February 19, 2020 3:15 PM
A record number of Kentuckians are registered to vote, just in time for Sen. Mitch McConnell's reelection race.

A record number of Kentucky residents are registered to vote as of Jan. 31, Secretary of State Michael Adams (R) announced on Tuesday.

More than 3.4 million Kentuckians are now registered, marking a new high for the state.

In his statement, Adams encouraged "every eligible person who is not registered to vote to do so by April 20, the last day to register to vote in the May 19 primary."

According to the Kentucky Secretary of State's Office, 48% of Kentucky voters are registered as Democrats, 43% are Republicans, and 9% are "listed under other affiliations."

Adams said Kentucky had "relatively high voter turnout in 2019" and he hopes "Kentuckians will show up strong at the polls" this year to select both a president and senator as well as state officials.

In 2019, Kentucky voters ousted Republican Matt Bevin from the governor's mansion, voting for Democrat Andy Beshear. In one of his first acts as governor, Beshear signed an executive order restoring the voting rights to roughly 100,000 nonviolent felons in the state.

In November, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will be on the ballot, likely facing Democrat Amy McGrath. McGrath raised nearly $17 million in the last six months of 2019 in her bid to unseat McConnell, according to Newsweek.


Posted by babylonsister | Sat Feb 22, 2020, 04:56 PM (5 replies)

digby: Another right-wing terrorist manifesto refers to Donald Trump


Another right-wing terrorist manifesto refers to Donald Trump
Published by digby on February 21, 2020

He killed a bunch of people:

A 43-year-old German who posted a manifesto calling for the “complete extermination” of many “races or cultures in our midst” shot and killed nine people of foreign background, most of them Turkish, in an attack on a hookah bar and other sites in a Frankfurt suburb, authorities said Thursday.

He was later found dead at his home along with his mother, and authorities said they were treating the rampage as an act of domestic terrorism.

The bloodshed came amid growing concerns about far-right violence in Germany and stepped-up efforts from authorities to crack down on it, including last week’s detention of a dozen men on suspicion they were planning attacks against politicians and minorities.


In the video, the speaker warned Americans that “your country is under control of invisible secret societies.” In a slow and deliberate voice in accented English, he said there are “deep underground military bases” in which “they abuse, torture and kill little children.”

He made no reference to the far-right QAnon movement in the U.S., but the message was similar to the fringe group’s central, baseless belief that President Donald Trump is under attack from “deep state” enemies and that satanists and cannibals are running a child sex trafficking ring.

In his manifesto, the gunman made one reference to Trump, writing: “I doubt that Donald Trump knowingly implements my recommendations.” He suggested that “mind control” might be at work.

With all that’s going on, I don’t know if people are even aware this happened. It’s just another mass killing by a far-right loon, inspired by internet wingnuts.

What this guy meant by “mind-control” being at work is unknown, but the mere fact that he thought the president wasn’t “knowingly” implementing his recommendations says it all. Let’s just say this nut believed he and Trump were on the same wavelength. And he wasn’t wrong.
Posted by babylonsister | Fri Feb 21, 2020, 03:36 PM (2 replies)
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